Prue Hawkins is a 33 year old lawyer. She spent years working in family law, community law and Legal Aid, but she’s now unemployed. Prue is looking for law jobs but says she’d work anywhere including cafés, supermarkets or pubs. But it’s tough because of her brittle-bone disease – sometimes she can’t physically get into the building where the jobs are. Prue says that because she used to work, she’s been deemed ineligible for the Disability Support Pension.
Bryson Douglas receives the Disability Support Pension. He says he has obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, cerebral palsy and anxiety. He says he is grateful for the support the DSP gives him but anxious and ashamed about admitting he has a disability. 'Sometimes I think to myself 'what the hell are you doing? Why aren't you working?’ And I know people could look at me and say, 'he's got two arms and legs, he can walk and talk’."
Malcolm Gunning runs a commercial real estate firm in Sydney and has employed people with disabilities in the past. He says he can understand why some people don’t disclose their disabilities when they apply for jobs, but not having that information makes it difficult for him as an employer. 'If you discover there’s a disability later, you probably think there’s a level of dishonesty."
Karla Milner is a clinical psychologist and used to be Job Capacity Assessor at Centrelink. She says sometimes getting the green light to go on the Disability Support Pension can actually do that person a disservice. 'It can give them the feeling that they’re not worth being employed. It can result in their own sense of self diminishing even further."